John Wild Posted February 23, 2004 Share Posted February 23, 2004 A posting in a discussion thread in the concertina history forum produced a quote from 'Three Men in a boat'. This set me thinking of other books which contain literary references to the concertina. I have three to start with. firstly I repeat the quote from 'Three Men in a boat', originally posted (I think) by Chris Timson:- From Three Men In A Boat, by Jerome K Jerome:- I still went on pulling, however, and still no lock came in sight, and the river grew more and more gloomy and mysterious under the gathering shadows of night, and things seemed to be getting weird and uncanny. I thought of hobgoblins and banshees, and will-o'-the-wisps, and those wicked girls who sit up all night on rocks, and lure people into whirl-pools and things; and I wished I had been a better man, and knew more hymns; and in the middle of these reflections I heard the blessed strains of "He's got `em on," played, badly, on a concertina, and knew that we were saved. I do not admire the tones of a concertina, as a rule; but, oh! how beautiful the music seemed to us both then - far, far more beautiful than the voice of Orpheus or the lute of Apollo, or anything of that sort could have sounded. Heavenly melody, in our then state of mind, would only have still further harrowed us. A soul-moving harmony, correctly performed, we should have taken as a spirit-warning, and have given up all hope. But about the strains of "He's got `em on," jerked spasmodically, and with involuntary variations, out of a wheezy accordion, there was something singularly human and reassuring. The sweet sounds drew nearer, and soon the boat from which they were worked lay alongside us. It contained a party of provincial `Arrys and `Arriets, out for a moonlight sail. (There was not any moon, but that was not their fault.) I never saw more attractive, lovable people in all my life. I hailed them, and asked if they could tell me the way to Wallingford lock; and I explained that I had been looking for it for the last two hours. ================================ My second reference is from Charles Dickens. The concertina is mentioned in Dickens' book 'Our Mutual Friend'. In 'book the second, Chapter V, 'Mercury Prompting', the character Fledgeby tries to establish a name by asking a question based on rhyming words, and the discussion is between the two characters Fledgeby and Lammle: Fledgeby: 'is the right name Georgiana or Georgina?' Lammle: 'Georgiana Fledgeby: 'I was thinking yesterday, I didn't know there was such a name. I thought it must end in ina.' Lammle: 'Why?' Fledgeby: 'Why, you play - if you can - the Concertina, you know' 'And you have - when you catch it - the Scarlatina. And you can come down from a balloon in a parac - no you can't though. Well, say Georgeute - I mean Georgiana.' I do not know in which year this book was first published, but it must be one of the earliest literary references to the concertina. =============================== My 3rd reference is originally a book but I heard this in a radio play version. I have not checked the original book text. In 'the Go-Between', at least in the radio version, there is a scene with a cricket match on the village green. After a player jumps up to make a catch, another player says: 'I thought that ball would sail over your head but you stretched up like a concertina. ================================== Do others know more? In the old discussion forums we had quite a long thread on concertinas in films. I wonder if this will be a short thread. Regards, John Wild Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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